According to the Waller County Sheriff’s Office, on 5 November at around 10pm, officers responded to reports of shots fired at 35028 Cameron Road in Waller, around four miles from the university’s campus.
“Deputies arrived at the scene and discovered that four adult females, two adult males, and one juvenile male had been shot while attending a trail ride pasture party that was being held in conjunction with a Prairie View A&M Homecoming party,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a statement.
“All victims sustained gunshot wounds to their lower extremities with no known life-threatening injuries,” the authorities added.
“An unknown number of actors attending the party were engaged in a verbal dispute when a firearm was discharged several times, striking seven bystanders,” the statement continued.
The sheriff’s office estimated that over 1,000 people attended the homecoming event. Although “security being provided by Waller County Pct. 3 Constables and an unknown private security agency,” the statement continued, “none of the security protocols that were established by the permitting body and agreed to by the promoter were found to be followed at the time of the incident.”
An investigation into the incident is ongoing.
The victims’ identities remain unknown. However, reports said that two of the victims are believed to be just eight and 13 years old.
Emergency helicopters responded to rush some of the victims to hospital while investigators were spotted on the scene, among party paraphernalia strewn on the grass.
The university said in a statement to The Independent that it was “saddened” by the event which was not officially tied to PVAMU.
“PVAMU is both saddened and troubled by the senseless act of violence that occurred in Waller County last night,” the statement read.
“Although this was not an official PVAMU homecoming event and was unaffiliated with the University, our campus community is deeply concerned for those injured and all affected by this incident. The Waller County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation.”
The Waller County Sheriff’s Office said that the event was not an official celebration planned by PVAMU but had been approved by the county judge.
“The mass gathering was approved by the County Judge for the location of FM 362 and Cameron Rd. The party promoter agreed to follow the Judge’s instructions,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook.
“Please avoid the area of FM 362 to avoid traffic due to people organizing parking in the approved pastures.”
This isn’t the first time a shooter opened fire in recent weeks at a university’s homecoming festivities. Last month, shootings at both Bowie State and Morgan State — historically Black universities in Maryland — transpired amid homecoming events. Although the two schools are nearby one another, the incidents were said to be unrelated.